If you have dreams of becoming a screenwriter and are eager to make these dreams come true, you have probably thought about whether or not you should go to school to learn screenwriting. Some people will tell you that going to school is a waste of time. They will say writers are born, not made so if you have talent, just go ahead and write! An equally assertive group may tell you that there are benefits to attending classes that hone your talents as a screenwriter. Here is some information about screenwriting school to help you look take a better look at that horizon.
What You Can Acquire from School
It is true that you do not need a degree in screenwriting, theater or film in order to be a Hollywood writer. However, even if you have a lot of talent, there may be a lot of things you can and should learn about writing a screenplay – things that would be hard to master without the guidance of a mentor and interaction with peers in a classroom. It would be sheer folly to even hope that talent alone will bring you success.
In order to make it as a screenwriter you need talent, a unique way of looking at things and enough life experiences to give your writing depth and maturity. These three qualities you do not get from school. However you also need other things which school can help you acquire: excellent communication skills which necessitate a good command of vocabulary and grammar; a knowledge of how words, actions and visuals work together; a network of contacts through a substantial number of people you know who know people you need.
Things You Learn in Screenwriting School
Among the classes you can expect from school would be one that teaches basic rules, skills, and techniques in screenwriting. Here students would study screenplay format, structure, and screenwriting for feature films. Most basic courses will provide a good overview of the traditional three-act structure for film stories. The exercises involved in such a class would include workshops and the discussion of different scripts. Usually, such a course would require the submission of a short script.
Somewhere along the course, you can expect to get tips on how to gauge what type of screenplays are in demand; how to get in touch and deal with people from the industry and how to find opportunities sell your scripts. Some schools will even include a class on copyrights, licenses, and contracts to make sure that students know how to protect their work legally.
Study Options for Aspiring Screenwriters
Some writers feel that getting a degree in film or screenwriting is not necessary but they would nevertheless want to go through some classes and perhaps earn some credentials. It is certainly possible to do this now since many universities and colleges offer both bachelor’s degrees and certificates in screenwriting, theater and film. You can even study online if attending classes is difficult for you to manage.
If you are entertaining the thought of going to school, you should look for two equally important things in your future alma mater. These are a good academic program and good connections in the industry. Choose a school that offers good workshop courses with small classes and instructors who are professional screenwriters. Before you enroll, find out who your instructors will be and how effective their teaching has been. See what kind of resources and activities they have made available to support learning.
The screen writers of A Beautiful Mind, Kramer Versus Kramer, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Taxi Driver, Godfather, Scarface, Platoon, Some Like it Hot, The King and I and Annie Hall are among the most famous multi- awarded artists that the film industry has ever known. Not all of them had degrees in film or screenwriting and not all of them had bachelor’s degrees in any field. Before you totally ditch the idea of going to school, remember that there is one thing these icons do have in common: at one time or another, they did go to college.
School cannot teach talent or creativity but it does teach format, technique, discipline, and concentration. If you think having these are of value to you, do try screenwriting school.